This week we ask Chris Reynoso, sous chef at Tavern in Brentwood. He's waiting for the elevator and pulling a cart loaded with boxes of produce.
"This whole bottom layer is just beets, red ones from Coastal Organics and yellow from Jimenez," Reynoso says. "We just roast them really simply and dice them for our vegan Cobb salad. It's got, really, all the vegetables, squash, beets, avocado ..."
And indeed it does. The salad is a color wheel on a plate, with orange kabocha squash nestled against pale green avocado, the darker romaine setting off yellow beets which are in turn dusted with chives. Even beige chickpeas pick up a jewel-like glow when they share a plate with Maryann Carpenter's purple beets. They're a year-round mainstay of Coastal Organics's table, anchoring baby Brussels sprouts in winter and heirloom tomatoes in summer -- all of which can be found at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Simply dressed with red wine vinaigrette, this salad is a study in simplicity and balance, illustrating both executive chef Suzanne Goin's ease and familiarity with both the farmers market produce and her customers' taste as well as Reynoso's thoughtful and playful palate, forged during his time as sous chef at the Concordia in St. John, USVI. You can choose your own adventure with each bite, balancing spicy watercress with creamy chickpeas, velvety squash with silky beets, or buttery avocado with crisp romaine. It's an ideal lunch for late winter, satisfying and light.
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